TITLE: Fear of Flying
DATE: 3/14/2005 07:06:00 AM
As the sun tucked behind the North Carolina mountains last night, I flew back to Baltimore. In the West was a brilliant sunset. In the East were storm clouds. Having just ended a weekend arts business workshop at Haywood Community College, I was hopeful and content. The young woman sitting next to me was not; it was her first flight.
Seated on the left side of the plane, I had perfect view of the two large thunderheads to the East. Lighting up the sky, I could hardly decide on which cloud to focus my attention. As I watched one cloud, the second would light up and I would miss the lightening bolt. As the cloud darkened and I waited for more, the first would now spark with light and my eyes would dart back to catch the display. Unable to just patiently focus on one cloud, I wasn't guaranteed a full view of either. I was only ensured to ping-pong my eyes back and forth and catch the afterglow of both.
While I frustratingly enjoyed what I could see, the woman next to me bit her nails in terror. I fly so frequently without incident. It hadn't occurred to me that lightening directly outside our window was a dangerous event. I found it an awesome, spontaneous display!
As the young woman, Sara, introduced herself and chattered her way through fear, I fell on an idea. So many artists I met this weekend were filled with a similar fear to Sara's. In a weekend filled with pricing strategies, networking opportunities, and talk of galleries and art shows, there were a number of 'deer-in-the-headlight' looks.
Were there people who attended the lectures, took dutiful notes, and still missed the 'beautiful storm clouds' --- the big picture changes filled with an equal mixture of excitement and adventure that, when tackled, will help move their craft ahead? Yes. They initially signed up for the workshop with all the right reasons and, upon learning all the hard work ahead, let fear seep in. Instead of embracing change and hard work, they'll take more cautious steps forward. These are the people who left the workshop in a daze... like Sara and her first flight.
Meanwhile, so many others on the plane (or at the workshop) did see the performance out the window. They may have missed a few details, but they felt the excitement. They saw at least a flicker. These are the people already anxious to jump back into their studio and get to work. They aren't sure where to begin because there are so many areas they want to work in at the same time. For awhile they'll ping-pong back and forth, as my eyes did out the window.
Good luck to all those who did see the spark. You have a few moments ahead where your notes will overwhelm you, your goals will seem unreachable, and the flicker will die down a bit, but -- persevere. Don't let fear of growth or change hold you back, because the journey you're on is incredible even if there is a little risk. Thanks for listening and learning and letting me be a part of your growth.